Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery

On 16 October 1959, an agreement was concluded by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the future care of the graves of German nationals who lost their lives in the United Kingdom during the two World Wars. The agreement provided for the transfer to a central cemetery in the United Kingdom of all graves which were not situated in cemeteries and plots of Commonwealth war graves maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in situ. Following this agreement, the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfursorge) made arrangements to transfer the graves of German servicemen and civilian internees of both wars from scattered burial grounds to the new cemetery established at Cannock Chase. The inauguration and dedication of this cemetery, which contains almost 5,000 German and Austrian graves, took place in June 1967. There is a small separate section for the crews of the four airships (SL 11, L32, L31, L48) shot down in World War I.


There is a gloom to this place, a silence; an all pervaiding sense of melancholy - the feeling isn't evil or melevolent just one of forlorn acceptence. Although we visited on a bright warm day the dappled sunlight as it filtered through the surrounding trees offered no relief from this weighty gloom. A large cross at the centre of the cemetery seems skeletal, overbearing and out of place, the gravestones are of gun metal grey and set in neat regimental lines; the buriel plots of the Austrians set apart. The names carved upon the headstones are obviously foreign to the land in which these dead are buried emphasising the otherness of this place. I have spent time exploring a small number of graveyards, burielgrounds and memorials and no other has quite struck me emotionaly as the Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery.